Johannesburg - Gauteng's e-toll registration outlets were
empty on Thursday with virtually no one registering for e-tags despite the
looming April 30 deadline, when the tolls go live.
The bright orange e-toll registration outlets, operated by
the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral), are in shopping malls and alongside
highways across Gauteng for motorists to register for discount toll fees.
Yet, despite being staffed with between three to five
cashiers and a branch supervisor, outlets had no customers. At one, a cashier
was painting her nails while another was reading a magazine.
Some outlets also had self-help computers for those who
didn't need direct help, flat screen televisions sets and comfortable chairs in
anticipation of the queues.
At Maponya mall in Soweto, human resources consultant Tshepo
Tsotetsi was the only registration in an hour.
"I registered my wife and myself with a heavy heart. I
don't want to break the law and I use the highways all the time getting around
for work," he said.
"But I didn't do it in good faith."
At the same mall Bafana Mkhabela took an e-toll registration
"I use my mom's car to get to college in Centurion and,
although I don't want to register, she thinks I should," the third-year
computer student said.
"It's going to cost our family a lot though, because I
go through four tolls just to get to college."
At Cresta centre in Randburg, the e-toll outlet was empty,
despite three cashiers waiting for customers. Businessman Tertius Barnardt, who
uses the post office next door daily, said he had never seen anyone inside.
"Yesterday I took a pamphlet from a woman handing them
out at a traffic light," he said, "she was so delighted and surprised
that I was even prepared to take one."
Barnardt said he was still unsure if he would register.
"In Gauteng, we are up to our necks in fees and
taxes," he said, "and where is the money for this going to go?"
Lwando Malotana, a training consultant from Randpark Ridge,
said he was hoping the whole project would be scrapped before he had to
"I watched what happened with the national strike in
March and I have been following the debate with interest," he said,
referring to the protest against e-tolling by trade union federation Cosatu.
"I will wait and see and maybe register just before the
tolls go online."
San Ridge Square in Midrand was busy on Thursday, the
parking area full, but the e-toll outlet empty. This area would be heavily
affected by the e-tolls on the N1, which links the area with Johannesburg and
Pretoria. At this e-toll outlet, five staff chatted with each other to pass the
Stephen Maupi, a credit controller for a cellphone company,
said he commuted from Randburg to his office in Midrand, and constantly moved
around Gauteng visiting stores.
"In South Africa these things are proposed and then we
just have to pay. I would like to know more about this Austrian company that
has been involved with the e-tolls and where the money from all of this is
going to go."
Michael Mafagane, a maintenance worker commuting weekly from
Pretoria to Midrand, said he welcomed the move to exempt public transport from
"There are a lot of cars with just one person in them
driving on this highway. Maybe it's time people started using public transport
to save on e-toll fees. This is one way of cutting down the traffic on our
At Benmore shopping centre, three cashiers watched the clock
until going-home time. The mall was busy but no one was at the e-toll outlet.
Douglasdale retiree Robin James had no intention to register
for the e-toll.
"If the authorities can't get an electricity bill
right, why would I give them access to my bank account for the e-toll?" he
"No, we have had enough. They (Sanral) can send me a
bill. If they can find me."